What my elimination function can teach you about the right foods to eat

I get asked all the time “What are the RIGHT foods”, “what am I supposed to eat” ... “Are grains bad?” And the answer is very simple:

1.    How do you want to feel and function?
2.    What foods allow you to feel and function that way?
3.    Are you prepared to stop lumping all foods into a dogmatic category?

Over the past couple of years I’ve been observing some interesting things in my own body and I thought I’d share with it you to highlight my point and help you to make sense of this.

Ok, so just like you, I poop.  And perhaps not like you, I observe my poop.  Why?  Because it’s a sign of how well your digestive system is functioning.

I have had a bit of a thing for a daily mocha for a couple of years now (not any more) and have also dabbled around in grain free diets, paleo diets with grains, grain based diets and no particular style of diets.  I dabble, because I’m curious about what foods work best for my body.  I don’t “diet”, I don’t restrict calories, I simply follow a path of playing with different types of food groups to see what enables me to feel and function the way I want.

So anyway, here are some observations I’ve made that came to a conclusion this week.

  • Mocha (dairy + coffee) + Grains = Good Poop
  • Mocha (dairy + coffee) + No Grains = Good Poop as soon as I even start on the coffee
  • Black Coffee + No Grains = Good Poop
  • Black Coffee + Grains = Bad Poop / No Poop
  • No Coffee + Grains = Bad Poop / No Poop
  • No Coffee + No Grains = Good Poop
  • No Coffee + Particular Grains = Good Poop

So what foods was I testing/observing?

  • Dairy
  • Coffee
  • Oats, Rice, Quinoa mostly
  • Non Grain Carbs: Fruits, Vegetables (including starches)

Here’s what I discovered.

  • Oats and Rice seem to be the grains that slow my elimination function, whereas Quinoa is fine.
  • Coffee doesn’t seem to be the thing that speeds things up, it appears to be the dairy.
  • When having the things that slows me down (oats/rice) AND the thing that speeds me up (dairy) it looks like things are normal.  But they are cancelling each other out.

Our body wants to get rid of things quickly it doesn’t like and can get backed up equally by things it doesn’t like.

So it seems I was tricking myself into thinking that a diet with Oats and rice was fine for my body because they were being masked by the fact that my body was trying to eliminate the dairy.  And when the dairy was removed, things slowed down, telling me that there was something in my diet that wasn’t agreeing with me.

But, one could easily jump on the Dogma train and say that all grains are bad.  I even fooled myself years ago into believing that hype.  But this isn’t true, all grains are not bad.  But for my body it does not feel or function the way I want it to with rice and oats.

And this is a strong message for you.

I hear countless times of people telling me they can’t eat gluten and I ask them why and they tell me that they get symptoms from eating bread.  This in itself does not tell us that you are reacting to gluten, it simply tells us that you are reacting to bread, a particular type of bread maybe.

People go on gluten free diets because they believe they’re healthy, but many times they’re eating processed gluten free foods full of additives, fat and sugar.

People believe that carbs are bad.  But this is not true, carbs are essential for a thriving body – the right ones ... the ones that mother nature grew for us, not the ones that man turned into a muffin, cake, pizza, low fat muesli bar, and other processed items.

Just because one thing makes you feel bad, it doesn’t automatically mean you delete the entire category from your diet.  This is how we end up confused, malnourished and entering into a crave/binge cycle.

So just ask yourself.  How do I want to feel/function and is this one food allowing me to do that?  Yes or no.  It’s that simple.  If the answer is no, remove or replace that ONE food, not the entire category.  Get off the dogma train before it runs away with you.

And do that with each individual food that you don't think is keeping you thriving.

I react to certain FODMAPs foods, but not others.  Does this mean I have to remove ALL the FODMAPs from my diet?  Is it crazy to remove foods that I don’t have a problem with?  I think so.

I had an experience where on 4 separate occasions over a space of 2-3 years where I was eating soy and was concurrently experiencing very sore breasts.  They were so sore, they would sting.  For whatever reason, I had removed my soy latte and I didn’t realise at the time, but the breast pain disappeared also.  Then later on I was quite into tofu and was eating a lot of it, and the pain returned.  I removed the tofu and the pain disappeared.  Then a few years later I was quite into Miso, and the pain returned again. On each occasion I had completely forgotten that soy was giving me issues and it took me a month each time for the penny to drop.  I removed the miso and all was well.

Last year I was eating a lot of organic/free range chicken, and the pain returned again.  I was confused, but I also knew that chickens get fed soy pellets, I checked with the manufacturer to see if this was the case for their birds and it was.  I switched to red meat for a while and the pain disappeared.

It can take time for you to understand what is best for your body.

But many of you want it all right now.  You want the magic bullet, the solution that will fix EVERYTHING.  You think us Nutritionists are somehow magic, that we can look into a crystal ball and know exactly what foods you should and should not be eating.

Here’s what we do know:
Don’t eat processed rubbish.  Eat the foods that Mother Nature (or God) intended for you.  Clean up your body so you can start listening to it.  You can’t listen to a body that is bogged down with rubbish.  Be patient.  Work with us to help you work with your body.  Start to understand what the right nutrition is for you, and for goodness sake, stop putting a fashion label on it.

Stacey HancockComment